Coronavirus, Photo

GALLERY: A Managing Editor working from home

Jennifer Suryadjaja is a senior at Boston University’s College of Communication and Managing Editor of The Daily Free Press. Since BU has shifted its courses online, so has The FreeP. She captured her new day-to-day schedule and other activities in her Boston apartment. 

If you look out your window right now, there’s a chance that Boston’s streets are almost completely deserted. I’ve been in quarantine for more than a month now, and it took me a while to adjust to finding a “new normal,” especially since I can’t come to our basement office or physically see my FreeP editors every night any longer.

Most of my friends are scattered throughout the world, choosing to go home early enough before national lockdowns are put in place, and my family members are safely staying put at my hometown in Indonesia. I keep in contact with them through social media, text messages and video calls. That said, my only windows to the world are my window panes, laptop and iPhone.

While adjusting to being indoors means getting the hang of a new work-life balance, it certainly is starting to scratch the itch I have to find insightful activities to do while still being an editor of The Daily Free Press.

A bare stretch of brown- and whitestones along the Commonwealth Avenue Mall. Ever since the stay-at-home advisory rolled out, I’ve begun feeling the slight eeriness of the city creeping in. As flowers bloom and days last longer, I try my best to practice social distancing when walking outside for fresh air. On some of Boston’s tight sidewalks, I either cross to the other side of the street or walk on the main roads to avoid walking close to strangers. But it’s inevitable at times.

If there’s an industry that’s flourishing now, it’s the puzzle industry. The last time I put one together was in third grade, so it brings back a lot of fond childhood memories. Although challenging, I’m using this puzzle as a distraction and is slowly evolving to a hobby.

I used to pick up copies of our print issues on a regular basis to archive them. Recently, I’ve been looking at our past issues for layout inspiration as we craft an upcoming issue. It also makes me reminisce on how much BU and the city has changed since I arrived in Boston.

For dinner one evening, I prepare pieces of salmon seasoned with fresh herbs, ready to hit the pan. Prior to quarantine, I never thought I could cook a decent meal. But with the time I have now and the fact that we can’t dine out at restaurants anymore, I’ve taken a liking to prepping and cooking. It makes me focus on nothing but my food, like a mental break when I don’t have to think about anything else.

Another day, another story to edit. Checking facts and making sure we publish quality stories is still my top priority every night I have to edit for The FreeP. The office has been condensed into a group channel on Slack, turning my words into mere messages. But nothing beats a functional team spamming your phone with memes at random hours of the day.

An advantage as a modern-day journalist in the 21st century is that we can conduct phone or video interviews easily with the help of the Internet. I still take notes on my old reporter’s notebook and use my AirPods when listening to recordings to focus on them better. While amping up our online presence, our hustle doesn’t stop.

A collection of my spices and a couple of cookbooks that I own. I’m inspired by my cookbook to switch up the methods of cooking and the kinds of spices I use. Besides that, I look up online recipes and ask my friends for substitutions. I had a fun talk with a nutritionist and a gastronomist about changing diets for a story, too that changed the way I think about food during pandemics.

Prior to my sofa, my typical workspaces include the one-person desks painted with graphics in the cozy on-campus Pavement Coffeehouse, the window seat on the College of Arts and Sciences’ quiet and cathartic Think Tank and my desk at the FreeP office with string lights and our logo hung on behind me. Now, I use my decorative long pillow for back support and open my blinds to let the sun in.

What better way than to decorate a plain, white wall than with personal memorabilia? Some of the objects in this picture are collected from the events I attended as a writer or associate for FreeP. When I look at my wall adorned with ticket stubs, stickers and postcards, it helps me appreciate the journey I’m on. In case you can’t tell, I’m pretty sentimental.

Hosting meetings over Zoom is something I look forward to doing, especially when it’s with my editors. My team has been working hard since the start of the semester, and even harder now that we are all practicing social distancing miles away. Where there is space to crack a joke — for a moment — it made me feel as if we’re back in our office on 708 Commonwealth Avenue.


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